Belief control II: cults

Today I ran into an article on The Psychology Behind Cults/Religion on Digg.

The article introduces the similar processes in which beliefs of new recruits are being controlled in religions, cults and other belief circles. It neglects to mention however, that it is far from certain that these belief circles are actually consciously manipulating their recruits for the extraction of cash.

Remember: an unconscious lie is spoken as conscious truth – making it far more convincing and dangerous.


Belief control I: manipulation

The trick about manipulationHaving read my book or the corresponding paper (2007/11/09 UPDATE: latest version here) you will know how I see believe control as the most effective way of manipulation. Well – seems that at least one cartoonist agrees with me. Look what I found on reddit this morning:

“The people must believe that they are not being manipulated in order for them to be manipulated effectively.”

However I would like to add that a conscious manipulator as depicted in the image is far less effective than someone who does not even perceive him or herself as being a self serving manipulator in the framework of whatever internal rationalization there might exist.

I would argue that an extraordinary ability for manipulating others paired with self deception in combination with a set of misguided personal believes has cause more suffering in the world than anything else. For those are the false prophets that can rally the masses for war – and for the wrong reasons at that.

Remember – you are not lying when you believe it to be true.